How tenkara works

In tenkara one just uses a rod, line and fly. A fixed length of line connects to the tip of the telescopic rod. Casting the fly to where you think the fish are is very quick to learn and intuitive. Landing the fish even more so. Watch the video below to find out more and read through the page to learn more.


How to use a tenkara rod

Using a telescopic tenkara rod is very intuitive. The entire rod is collapsed inside its handle section. You just remove the plug and extend the segments out. Read below and watch the video on how to use your tenkara rod.

How to use a tenkara rod

Opening a tenkara rod

1) Remove rod plug.
2) Tilt rod down slightly to expose the tenkara rod tip.
3) Keeping the hard tip of the rod inside the main segment, expose the braided tip material (the lillian), attach line to rod tip. (keeping the hard tip inside will prevent a broken tenkara rod)
3) Once your line is attached, hold rod handle segment near the opening with one hand. With the other hand pull the tenkara rod tip, and each subsequent segment out, sliding them out between your fingers. Starting with the tip pull each piece out completely until next segment comes out and becomes snug. Do this in order. Pieces should feel snug, not overly tight.

Closing a tenkara rod

To collapse the tenkara rod, simply start by pushing the segments back into the handle, in order, starting with the thickest segment first and making your way to the tip of the rod. You may leave your tenkara line tied to the rod tip, and, when you have collapsed the entire rod, wind the line around a tenkara line holder and move on to the next stop. If you’re ready to pack up for the rest of the day, pull the tag end of your line to remove the line from the rod and stow both away.

Should you have any problems with your tenkara rod, take a look at the rod troubleshooting page for easy solutions to common problems.

Tenkara Casting and techniques

grip_transparent Casting with tenkara is very intuitive, you will get it after just a few casts. The basic concept is that you will move your rod tip back quickly, stop at the vertical position (12 o'clock) to throw the line back and make the rod flex. And, then move the rod tip forward, stopping at roughly 10 o'clock in front of you. making your line move forward and the fly hit the target. Having an index finger on top of the handle helps stop at the vertical position more naturally and improves accuracy. Watch the video below for more information on how to cast with tenkara.

Casting with a tenkara rod becomes very obvious when you have the rod in hand, it is a bit similar to throwing a ball at a target, your brain does most of the work after a few attempts. The videos below will show you how to cast with tenkara as well as techniques for using your tenkara fly and also how to land fish with tenkara.

  • Learn How to cast with tenkaratenkara-shirt

    Learn How to cast with tenkara

    Casting with tenkara is not difficult. In fact, we find it to be a very intuitive thing to do. Learn how to cast tenkara in this video with Daniel Galhardo. Remember to...

  • Techniques for tenkaraTenkara techniques

    Techniques for tenkara

    Tenkara places more emphasis on technique rather than gear. One way to simplify is to reduce the number of fly choices and try different techniques. In Japan I’ve...

  • Pause-and-drift technique and landingPause-and-drift technique for tenkara

    Pause-and-drift technique and landing

    Here’s a good video shot at Mossy Creek, Virginia, demonstrating the effective use of the pause-and-drift technique for tenkara. It also perfectly illustrates how...


Landing fish with tenkara is intuitive


Landing fish with tenkara diagram

Landing fish with tenkara is very intuitive. You simply angle the rod back, and reach for the line or the fish. Think of cane-pole fishing you may have done as a kid. Tenkara nets can be helpful in landing you fish with a tenkara rod. You can learn more about tenkara nets here. And, stay tuned for Tenkara USA’s new net announcement coming in the Fall of 2020, and get updates about our tenkara net here!

How to setup tenkara rod, + tenkara knots

Learn how to set up your tenkara rod. In this section we share all the knots you use: how to connect your tenkara line to your rod, tippet to your line, and fly to tippet. The main knot we like recommending for tenkara is actually a fisherman's knot as in the diagram below.

Here is the complete tenkara rod setup from start to finish.

learn how to setup tenkara rod, all knots diagram

Tenkara Fly Tying: Learn how to tie tenkara...

The tenkara fly embodies the spirit of tenkara in its simplicity and effectiveness, and there is nothing more gratifying than catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself! Learn how to tie tenkara flies and be rewarded by the experience. You can also shop for tenkara flies here

Tying tenkara flies can be as simple or complex as you want it. Here are a few of the videos on tenkara fly tying.

  • How to tie tenkara flies: The Ishigaki...tenkara fly tying, tying the ishigaki kebari tenkara fly

    How to tie tenkara flies: The Ishigaki...

    How to tie tenkara flies : The Ishigaki Kebari™ Materials: 1) Size 12 hook (this can vary according to preference, size 12 is the one Ishigaki uses most often) 2)...

  • Mr. Yoshida ties a Kenbane tenkara flyMr. Yoshida ties the kenbane kebari or alula tenkara fly

    Mr. Yoshida ties a Kenbane tenkara fly

    Mr. Takashi Yoshida is an innovative fly tyer based in Japan. Here he shows how to tie a tenkara fly using the Alula feather of a pheasant, known in Japanese as the...

  • Hiroto Sasaki, Tying a Tenkara Fly Without...Tying a tenkara fly without a vise

    Hiroto Sasaki, Tying a Tenkara Fly Without...

    Our favorite thing about this video is the way Mr. Sasaki finishes off his tenkara fly. Watch him tie his fly without a vise, and then the unique technique he uses to...

You can find more fly-tying videos here.


in the book

Now in its third printing! Order here
After years of learning tenkara directly from the masters, Daniel's much anticipated book is finally shipping! At 216 pages, this book will show you all you need to tenkara, and the stories in its pages will take you along Daniel's journey of learning tenkara.